Jed Hoyer said in Tuesday’s press conference that a new deal with a reliever would be announced later in the day, but it took until Wednesday morning for things to come together. The Cubs have agreed to a deal with former Red Sox and Phillies righty Brandon Workman that guarantees $1 million with the potential for $2 million more in incentives.
Brandon Workman has MLB deal with the Cubs. $1M plus $2M incentives. @PJ_Mooney on it
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 17, 2021
Workman checks four big boxes for the Cubs: He was drafted by the Red Sox in 2010, when Theo Epstein was still in Boston; he’s had Tommy John surgery; he’s over 30; he is coming off of a forgettable campaign split between Boston and Philly. You probably couldn’t put together a more perfect blueprint for the types of pitchers Hoyer likes to target.
Brandon Workman was drafted by Boston near the end of the Theo Epstein era, contributed to two World Series teams and put up a 3.75 ERA across parts of six seasons with the Red Sox.
— Patrick Mooney (@PJ_Mooney) February 17, 2021
I’m being unnecessarily snarky there, but there’s something to be said for that combination of factors driving down the price for a pitcher who’s contributed to two World Series teams and has the potential to return to lights-out form. After a few meh seasons with the Red Sox, Workman busted out in a big way with a 1.88 ERA and 13.06 K/9 across 73 appearances in 2019.
As foolish as it would be to put much stock in numbers that were pretty aberrant across the board, the possibility does exist that he can recapture some of that form. Even if he settles back into something more along the lines of his career averages, Workman pitches to almost identical splits and is familiar with playing in a pressure-cooker environment.
He’s also got a little experience working the 9th inning, having accumulated 25 saves over the past two seasons. That’s 10 more than Craig Kimbrel has notched in the same time, so Workman should be expected to fill the role of Jeremy Jeffress in the event that David Ross has to make a change at closer and Rowan Wick isn’t ready for whatever reason.